Average Dementia Survival: 4.5 Years
Study of Dementia Patients Shows Women Live Slightly Longer Than Men
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Caring for Those With Dementia
Researcher Murna Downs, PhD, says most people don't recognize that dementia
is a disease people live with, and not just a death sentence.
Downs' research focuses on quality-of-life issues among dementia
"People with dementia live a long time, and we now know that there is a
lot of awareness," she says. "People assume that if someone doesn't
know where they are they have no other capacity for thinking and feeling. But
people with dementia continue to think and to laugh and to feel the rain on
their faces, and to try to make sense of their world."
She adds that patients are often isolated because family members or other
caregivers fail to recognize their need for interaction and stimulation.
"The therapeutic potential of human contact cannot be
underestimated," she says. "You would never put a small child in a
chair and let them sit there all day with nothing to do. Children need
stimulation and human contact and so do people with dementia."